Rates were stable through the year, with the established premium for larger tonnage continuing around last years’ levels. Most vessels were being employed most of the time, expect for some waiting time in the Middle East Gulf where ethylene export was slow and sporadic for yet another year, especially in the first half of 2015.
Production issues were an important feature of the petchem market this year, with production problems at Shell Moerdijk and other European crackers making Europe short on ethylene. This shortage was covered from ENI in the Mediterranean, US Gulf, Latin America and from the Middle East Gulf when product was available.
Open west-east arbitrage window for ethylene this year as last year paved the way for long haul volumes from US Gulf and South America to Asia, giving good ton-miles to the fleet.
High trans-Atlantic LPG activity during the year gave employment, especially for larger vessels which to an increasing degree are dependent on the trans-Atlantic LPG market.
During 2015, 8 ethylene and six semi-ref vessels were delivered, while five ethylene and four semi-ref vessels were scrapped. The vessel size is continuing to increase as smaller tonnage gets scrapped while the vast majority of new tonnage are larger vessels. Only one ethylene vessel was ordered, while four semi-ref vessels were added to the orderbook. On the larger dedicated ethane side, three vessels were delivered and six more were ordered.
Semi-Ref/Ethylene Rates Semi-Ref/Ethylene Fleet Age